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Tim Hussin, Deseret Morning News
Friends of extreme skier Billy Poole wait to be interviewed by police and the media after Poole was fatally injured when he hit a rock during a jump in the backcountry near Mount Wolverine on Tuesday.

The Utah ski community lost one of its most beloved members Tuesday.

Billy Poole, one of the top names in the sport of professional extreme skiing, died from injuries sustained while filming a jump near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Poole was taken to University Hospital in extremely critical condition about 12:30 p.m. after attempting a jump and hitting rocks, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak. A hospital spokesman confirmed he died at 1:30 p.m.

"Billy was an exceptionally hard worker and an exceptional skier," said Jessica Kunzer, spokeswoman for Ski Utah and a close friend of Poole. "This is a huge blow to our local ski community. He was a really great guy."

Poole was known for "dropping big lines," or making long jumps. Friends said he was a person who always tried to push the limits of what he could do.

His bio on www.skibd.com says the Montana native, who lived the past several years in Alta, Utah, was the first person to jump over the telephone wires at Cardiff Pass.

Originally, the sheriff's office was notified of a skier injured in what appeared to be an avalanche.

Jaroscak did not know Tuesday afternoon from how far Poole jumped. The accident happened in the backcountry between Brighton and Solitude Ski resorts. The film crew Poole was with actually skied into Little Cottonwood Canyon after reaching their injured companion, he said.

A medical helicopter transported Poole to the hospital.

Poole did not have any relatives in Utah. But Kunzer said his ski family was in Utah, where he was loved by many.

"It's very sad to have lost a friend," she said. "We hate to hear about these things. But there's always an inherent risk with extreme skiing."

Poole was about to debut his own headwear company next week in Las Vegas, she said.

On the Net: YouTube video of Billy Poole

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com